The Week That Was...
Speaking with Spain?s AS, shortly after his second Giro d?Italia win on Sunday, Paolo Savoldelli explained that although he was often left wanting for team-mates in the mountains during the three-week race, it was a novelty to have any team support at all. "I was more alone in other Giros. When I came second in 1999 with Saeco, seven were riding for Cipollini. When I won in 2002, seven waited for Quaranta. This year it felt odd to have teammates supporting me on the flat stages. Only in the mountains was the support lacking, because Danielson was injured." "When Discovery Channel hired me, Bruyneel said, 'Try to get on the podium at the Giro and don't think about anything after that. Then we will take you to the Tour to help Armstrong.'"
"They hired me because they have seen me win a Giro without a team and they needed someone who could give a good showing for Discovery in Italy ? But they have designated Popovych as Armstrong's successor. They see in him the talent to win the Tour. As for me, I like the Tour a lot, but I am Italian and love the Giro."
Johan Bruyneel confirmed this change of focus for Il Falco in a team statement, "France is another thing," "It definitely won't be the same approach for him as it was preparing for the Giro. First, I need him to recover and set his mind. I'll leave him alone for a week and let him really taste this victory. Then, we'll set his mind on July.
"I don't want him to be obsessive about it. If he's in good shape, he will do his job. He can ride without stress and if he doesn't let his fitness come down too much, by the time the race reaches the mountains, he will be able to do what we need him to do."
One rider not heading to France this July is Italian fast-man, Alessandro Petacchi. After a race packed early season including Milan-San Remo, Vuelta a Aragon, Tour de Romandie and now the Giro d?Italia, Petacchi announced that he would instead stay at home to rest and prepare for the second half of the season, primarily focusing on the World Championships in September. Italian national coach, Franco Ballerini, is expected to name a squad for the Madrid race with the sole intention of leading Petacchi home as World Champion in a similar manner to that which won Mario Cipollini his World Championship gold medal in Zolder, Belgium.
After finishing fourth overall and collecting stage wins on the way, Italian Danilo Di Luca (Liquigas-Bianchi) further extended his lead at the head of the new ProTour rankings. Di Luca now has 184 points, 72 ahead of second place, Tom Boonen (Quick Step). Winner of the Giro, Paolo Savoldelli, is in fifth, on 89 points.
Experienced Belgian rider, Ludo Dierckxsens (Landbouwkrediert-Colnago) will not retire mid-season now as has previously been announced. After an injury plagued early season, Dierckxsens has decided to continue after the Belgian national championships until the end of the season.
American cyclist Tyler Hamilton has appealed his two-year doping suspension to the Court of Arbitration for Sport in Lausanne, Switzerland. The Olympic gold medalist asked CAS to overturn the April 18 decision by the independent American Arbitration Association to suspend him for a blood doping violation. Hamilton has consistently denied any doping violation and criticized the testing method used by the Union Cycliste International, cycling's international governing body.
In other news, The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) has told its accredited laboratories to modify testing procedures for the banned steroid nandrolone. WADA said that in the last several months, it has come across "very rare cases" of so-called "unstable urine," which could produce a positive finding for nandrolone. WADA has asked its labs to conduct "stability tests" if there is a positive nandrolone finding. If these tests reveal unstable urine, the positive result will be annulled.
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